Professor James Shapiro has written a book detailing the authorship dilemma entitled Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? Shapiro writes in a breezy yet authoritative style. I highly recommend this book; it’s probably one of the best I’ve read regarding authorship studies.
Most writers, such as S. Schoenbaum are…extremely demeaning to those that question that the guy from Stratford probably didn’t write the plays. He is a lumper rather than a splitter and describes anti-strats as ‘schismatics’. No one has been able to yet shake (pun intended) religious vocabulary when it comes to Shakespeare, at least academics. Perhaps they believe themselves to be in a quasi-religious institution.
Shapiro is also a lumper and writes for a mainstream audience. And as a Stratfordian academic who works at Columbia University he is articulating a case for William Shakespeare, the guy from Stratford, no bones about it. Although he takes pains not to use demeaning language when writing about anti-strats, he makes a huge mistake in saying that all will be revealed regarding those that don’t think the divine William is Shakespeare in his portrayal of Baconians. Because, according to Shapiro, we all are the same. Anti-strats, that is. And because according to Shapiro: “…it’s no surprise that the most influential of them turned to the authorship question only after experiencing a spiritual crises.”
So I can only infer from Shapiro’s statements that if you are alright with God, the divine William will rest good with you, no?
Actually no. I am a heretical schismatic and I’m alright with that.
The thing is that Shapiro decides not to touch on Marlovian theory for a reason. I think he knows we have a good case. And if you don’t want to acknowledge something you can always ignore it. Which is a type of demeaning behavior.
Interestingly enough Shapiro is also on record for saying that authorship claims run in seventy year cycles and now Marlovian theory will be the rising star.
I’d like to end this diatribe with a differing viewpoint on Shakespearean verse translation. Shapiro quotes Shakespeare:
As I belong to worship and affect
In honor honesty, the tract of everything,
Would by a good discourser lose some life
Which action’s self was tongue to.
Shapiro says that “the best Shakespeare editors throw up their hands in despair at passages like this. With patience, the sense of it can be unpacked. Norfolk has taken a very roundabout of saying, “Look, I’m noble and bound to tell the truth; but no matter how well a skilled reporter can describe something, it would fall short of what those who were there experienced.”
Let me use this instance to refute current dogma. I disagree with Shapiro’s analysis of Shakespeare. I think what Shakespeare is insinuating is this:
As I affect a certain way of being, because I’m noble
I pretend to believe that honesty is everything in my pretense
And I’d like to go down in history
As a person who is noble and good (even though my action’s speak otherwise).
That’s it in a nutshell.